Age of X-Man Round-Up: A Lot of &%#$ing Moths

By Allison Senecal — So, uh, there’s a lot of moth imagery throughout the last month or so of Age of X-Man, huh? And that’s not sad or ominous at all….

Anyway, I’m really loving this entire event and how the creators are getting to let loose with some wilder concepts. Now that we’re (mostly) past the opening set-up issues, we’re getting to the meaty stuff. Higher stakes, tauter emotions, deepening plots. Several things are primed to explode over the next month, and then my guess is we’ll have some fantastic fallout.

Happy? Reading!

Previously on Age of X-Man

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #1
Tim Seeley
Artist: Salva Espin
Colorist: Israel Silva
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Key Characters: Apocalypse, Genesis, Kitty Pryde, Eye-Boy, Dazzler, Omega Red, Unveil (new!)

Age of X-Man’s grooviest series starts on an ominous note, with two mutant scientists coming across a bunker, surrounded by dead wildlife and located in the middle-of-nowhere Kazakhstan. Cut to Dazzler performing in a Beatnik club and Kitty and Eye-Boy on a mission to recover “artifacts”. They all get mental commands from Apocalypse to return to their base. Apocalypse joins his son, Genesis, and the rest of his Riders at their Gilded Tomb gallery for a ritual to connect their minds and receive their next mission. Apocalypse sends them to keep Omega Red from the clutches of the X-Men.

This is for sure the weirdest series of the bunch and not just because Eye-Boy got a haircut and kissed Kitty. It’s genuinely unsettling to see Apocalypse and Genesis both attempting to have some kind of father-son relationship in this world, and not for the reasons the X-Men find it unsettling. I do wonder how much Apocalypse remembers, if he remembers anything, and *sound of anguish* it’s just so &%$#ed up. Also hope we get to see more of Unveil, the new psychedelic mutant.

Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #2
Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Marco Failla
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Key Characters: Storm, Jean Grey, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Nature Girl, Laura Kinney, Nate Grey

The X-Men watch as Apocalypse holds a pro-love, pro-community rally which quickly escalates and turns violent after X-23 accidentally cuts a protestor attempting to vandalize a Logan sculpture. Apocalypse intervenes peacefully and the X-Men return to their headquarters to decide on a course of action. Colossus leaves angrily after majority rules that they simply keep an eye on the X-tracts. The X-Men inform Department X of the public disturbance and Colossus has angst over Kitty, whom he found himself drawn to upon seeing her at the rally. Storm then catches Magneto having a fit of memory and crying over what he sees of his sketchy past and lost family.  

The art in Marvelous is still the most muted and fits the event’s tone the best, and it tends to set the mood for everything else. I love that the creative team has decided to double down on the loss of familial relationships in this one. Moneta expresses disgust at Apocalypse kissing his son in public, which is sad on a couple levels. Laura’s already remembered Gabby and now she gets flashes of Logan. Magneto remembering Wanda and Pietro got me a bit too. Can’t wait to see the rest of the team fraying at the edges.

Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler #2
Seanan McGuire
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Colorist: Dono Sánchez-Almara
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Key Characters:
Nightcrawler, Meggan, Stepford Cuckoos, Surge, Hellion, Lady Mastermind

Kurt and Meggan have an awkward morning after a heart-to-heart and argue about whether or not to come clean about their affair. Kurt BAMFs out to clear his head, saves a child from a car, and BAMFs back to Meggan, agreeing to keep it quiet for now. Lady Mastermind, here in charge of a rival movie studio, sets up a surprise meeting with Kurt to discuss a studio merger, which he refuses. She leaves in a huff. Later, during a training session a vandalized ceiling crumbles, almost injuring the team. They decide to investigate internally instead of involving the X-Men. Before leaving, Meggan hands Kurt a note telling him to meet her at a mysterious location later. The location turns out to be a club (THE LOGO IS A MOTH!) where everyone wears masks, flirts, dances….sadly not a BDSM club but maybe we’re just not there yet. Kurt panics, leaves, and arrives back home to Mystique waiting for him.

Maybe the slowest of the second issues, but we get guilt-ridden Kurt (more lovely character work from McGuire) and some Lady Mastermind, so who am I to complain. Loved Frigeri’s Magma action page a ton. The plot does still thicken, with the vandalism, inter-studio drama, and of course, that cliffhanger. Knowing Mystique, approximately nothing good will happen next.

Age of X-Man: NextGen #2
Ed Brisson
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Key Characters: Glob, Armor, Pixie, Anole, Shark Girl, Bling

Following the cliffhanger from the first issue, Glob confronts Armor (and covers her with WAX!!) with what he’s figured out about their reality and that he knows it’s all lies. She leaves angrily. The next day she asks Bling about the previous night when she saw her get attacked by Department X and Bling doesn’t remember anything about it. Meanwhile Anole, under the influence of Unveil, suggests that Rockslide check the school library for material on the Life Seed. Armor meets up with Blob again, this time demanding that he tell her everything he knows, and telling him she’s starting to remember things differently. Rockslide is put on a watchlist after asking for info on the Life Seed at the library. Anole meets with his group of subversives who decide to blow up the Hope Summers Memorial Library.

NextGen is probably the most overtly ominous of the AOXM series, with the students ratting on each other, joining resistance movements, looking for hidden lore in the library, and just generally being &$%#-stirring kids. The next issue has the potential to blow the top off this entire event, quite literally. To and Keith are still top-notch on this and Glob continues to steal the show. But come on, man, send someone to Dean Angel already.

Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2
Leah Williams
Penciler: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Roberto Poggi
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Key Characters:
Psylocke, Jubilee, Blob, Iceman, Northstar, Moneta

So….that wildfire from the first issue of Marvelous X-Men? We find out it’s an artificially-created disaster courtesy of Department X. Other than that it’s business as usual, with intra-team shenanigans and Moneta being The Worst. Psylocke finds out Blob is attracted to her and calls him out on it, offering to get rid of the thoughts for him. When he fails to show up to work, he leaves Betsy a note saying he doesn’t want to forget, and the paperwork starts to pile up for our horny cops. Jubilee confronts the prisoner Nezumi in the basement and gets called on her complicity in the system. Betsy then pays a visit to Fred’s home, where he makes her a cup of tea and spills his feelings. We end the issue on Betsy’s recalling faded dreams of her mother and her aggressively crawling across the table towards Fred.

Every series has picked up the pace, and none more so than X-Tremists. Williams gently smacks us across the face with some harsh truths and soul-wrenching monologues in this one, and Jeanty’s art had some room to breathe, with no big multi-page action sequences. Great character work on Fred/Blob in this one. Do wish we’d had a bit more Betsy since it was her issue but maybe we’ll get it in the next issue, and honestly I’m a Betsy superfan so grain of salt, please.

Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2
Vita Ayala
Artist: German Peralta
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: VC’S Joe Sabino
Key Characters:
Bishop, Dani Moonstar, Beast, Polaris, Shard, Honey Badger

This opens on a visit from Psylocke of Department X to Forge, the warden of the Danger Room. He believes Bishop can be rehabilitated, but she warns him against becoming too complacent. Bishop once again goes through his day, bullied and attacked by his fellow inmates. Polaris tells him the X-Men, including him, were the ones who put her away, and this leads to another Bishop-Beast fight, after which Beast switches gears, become helpful and telling Bishop to stop asking questions. He and Dani share another round of confusing reminiscences (*sob* a New Mutants memory), and elsewhere, Forge gives an unknown command. After a dizzying conversation with Shard, Bishop is attacked by numerous versions of himself and we see him get dragged back to his cell by the guards.

Another gorgeous issue from the creative team. Still my favorite art out of all the minis. As with the rest, I feel shit is about to hit the fan in the next issue. Quite a few mysteries to figure out yet…how is Dani seemingly in two places at once? What’s up with the other Bishops? Why does everyone else have green eyes? What is Shard up to? WHO IS LAUGHING? Some great character beats, especially with Dani, and between Bishop and Lorna. *wheeze* The Bishop vs Bishop dialogue. Loving it!

Meanwhile on Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-Men #14 & #15
Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Key Characters:
Cyclops, Havok, Wolverine, Magik, Dani Moonstar, Karma, Wolfsbane, Multiple Man, Dark Beast, Captain America

Cyclops and Wolverine convince Val Cooper to share any relevant information with them, so they have an in with the government. Dark Beast gives them the location of a Marauder hideout and while chasing Scrambler, the group runs into Callisto who’s also been tracking him. Turns out the Marauders attacked and killed a good number of Morlocks. Chamber’s reasonably pissed. The team takes out a group of Chernayan rebels as a “favor” to Val, and Magik gets to be a badass. Back at the bar, ENTER CAPTAIN AMERICA, who actually has helpful things to say, telling them not to trust Val. Meanwhile Dark Beast offers Shan some help with her virus situation. The rest of the X-Men show up to a rally where Hope’s next target is scheduled to speak, and they’re attacked by the MLF. Scott has Magik teleport him up to Hope’s sniper position and then everything goes truly tits up in the wildest and best ways. A fight ensues where Scott gets shot in the face by Hope and Hope ends up stabbed by Wolverine, but not before she’s able to snipe her original target. Six-day time skip and Scott’s missing an eye, Hope’s alive, and Dark Beast has cured the New Mutants ladies, transferring the transmode to a Madrox clone.

*KEYBOARD SMASH* I can not overstate how much I loved these two issues, but especially #15. Grieving and extremely aggro Hope. The New Mutants ladies fully themselves in time for War of the Realms. Dani and Scott hug it out. Alex threatens Dark Beast. SCOTT LOSES A &%$#ING EYE, which is something I’ve wanted since I was like eight years old. Rosenberg knows how to balance humor with heavy themes, and god does he write perfect interactions. Issues like this remind me why I love the X-Men so much.

Next Time on Age of X-Man

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse & The X-Tracts #2
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Age of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men #3
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Age of X-Man: NextGen #3
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Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3
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Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #3
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Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #3
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Check out last month’s Age of X-Man Round-Up here!

Allison buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally. You can find her chaotic neutral Twitter feed at @maliciousglee.